Discovery Institute — At Last We Understand

What we found today at the creationist blog of the Discoveroids is so far beyond anything we’ve ever encountered there before that … well, their title says it all: Chemistry Nobel Prize Based on Design Inference. It has no author’s byline. A few excerpts will give you the general idea, and we don’t need to add any bold font:

This month’s announcement of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry should cause design advocates to celebrate. We have just seen the biggest prize for science go to three biologists who made a design inference about genetic information. Tomas Lindahl, Paul Modrich, and Aziz Sancar shared the prestigious honor for their work on DNA repair mechanisms.

Aaaargh!! Here, by the way, here is the Nobel Foundation’s press release about the prize. Two more excerpts from the Discoveroids’ post should be sufficient:

Of course, intelligent design was never mentioned in the Nobel Committee’s announcement, either the popular version or the scientific version. We know also that the committee assumes that the repair mechanisms came about by a Darwinian process. In all likelihood, the winners are evolutionists, too. But think about it; their work was about information quality control … .

[…]

It’s not necessary to use the phrase “intelligent design” to recognize it in action. Nor is it necessary to know the personal beliefs of the Nobel laureates. They made a design inference; that’s what counts. Quality control, information monitoring, error correction systems — these are phrases rich with design concepts.

We’re glad that three intelligent scientists, Lindahl, Modrich and Sancar, received the world’s highest scientific honors for uncovering “a molecular system that constantly counteracts DNA collapse” by what can fairly be called intelligent design. Whether or not anyone in fact calls it ID, the 2015 Nobel Prize for Chemistry reflects the validity and fruitfulness of the design inference for top-flight scientific research.

Words fail us, and that rarely happens to your Curmudgeon. We’ve seen the Discoveroids claim that their “theory” is in use in a number of scientific fields, but never have they been this outrageous. Their new post is so far beyond anything they’ve done before that we were going to ignore it because we couldn’t think of anything to say — but then, suddenly, we finally understood what’s going on.

What we’re seeing here is a very primitive theology — much like Zoroastrianism. Wikipedia says:

Zoroastrianism or Mazdaism is one of the world’s oldest religions, “combining a cosmogonic dualism and eschatological monotheism in a manner unique… among the major religions of the world.” Ascribed to the teachings of the prophet Zoroaster, its Supreme Being is Ahura Mazda. For a thousand years, forms of Zoroastrianism (including a Mithraic Median prototype and Zurvanist Sassanid successor) were the world’s most powerful religion, serving as the state religion of the pre-Islamic Iranian empires from around 600 BCE to 650 CE. … Leading characteristics, such as messianism, the Golden Rule, heaven and hell, and free will influenced other religious systems, including Second Temple Judaism, Gnosticism, Christianity, and Islam.

[…]

According to the Zoroastrian story of creation, Ahura Mazda existed in light in goodness above, while Angra Mainyu existed in darkness and ignorance below. They have existed independently of each other for all time, and manifest contrary substances. … While Ahura Mazda created the universe and humankind, Angra Mainyu, whose instinct is to destroy, miscreated demons, evil yazads, and noxious creatures (khrafstar) such as snakes, ants, and flies. Angra Mainyu created an opposite, evil being for each good being, except for humans, which he found he could not match.

That’s the general idea — good and evil are two opposing forces. The Discoveroids have obviously embraced this ancient worldview. To them, all that is good was created by their intelligent designer — blessed be he! — who fine tuned the universe for life. Their perception of good and evil is the principle of their imaginary design filter. Evil is manifest in unplanned, random, chaotic, and purely materialistic phenomena. Given such a mindset, Darwin’s concept of evolution is clearly an example of evil.

Your Curmudgeon is delighted. At last we understand the Discoveroids. They’re a neo Zoroastrian cult.

Copyright © 2015. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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19 responses to “Discovery Institute — At Last We Understand

  1. Hello? The Discoveroids failed to address why their “perfect” creator created a genetic system so fragile that it requires day by day, hour by hour, and minute by minute monitoring and repair. A real god would have made a system not needed such drastic and energy wasting mechanisms.

  2. Derek Freyberg

    So when do they get their Nobel Prize? (or, to be precise, when does a scientist, or two, or three, affiliated with the DI, get the prize?)
    Answer: when they actually do some science, and it better be goooood science, instead of just claiming design in everything. Ain’t gonna happen.
    Heck, even snowflakes look more designed than the DI.

  3. “intelligent design ….. either the popular version or the scientific version.”
    May I beg you, my dear SC, to warn your unsuspecting readers (and especially me) before you quote stuff like this? I nearly spoiled a keyboard as I just had a mouth full of milk while reading this.
    What in the name of the Grand Old Designer, blessed be Him/Her/It, is the difference between the popular and the scientific version of IDiocy?!

  4. Well, I must humbly eat my words and admit in this instance I could not have been more wrong, Here’s what I posted on this blog on 6 October, the day the Nobel Prize for Chemistry was announced:

    And some breaking news!

    Despite their ‘dozens’ of articles, the IDiots have been passed over yet again by the Nobel Foundation, which has just announced DNA repair wins chemistry Nobel.

    No doubt there will be great wailing and gnashing of teeth in Seattle–but cheer up, Discoveroids, there’s always next year!

    Moral of story: Never, never underestimate the ability of Discoveroids to warp reality to their own liking!

  5. Well, The DI have certainly upped their game. No more looking for (non-existent) ID in papers published in PNAS, Nature etc. It’s Nobel Prize winning scientists from now on and nothing less.

  6. Ceteris Paribus

    Ya, Ya, Ya. Next the DI will be claiming that all the bizzilion auto recalls to replace defective air bags, killer ignition switches, and such, are also proofs of Intelligent Design.

    And lest the DI was just too modest to mention it in their news release, the DI should have gotten Nobels in both science and literature for that stunning new text phrase they coined and then fixed: “cdesign proponentsists”.

  7. The tough question about an agency which is more capable(*) than the natural world is this:

    Why does that agency resort to the contrivances of design?

    Why, in the first place, was there stuff that was not as the agency wanted it?
    And then, what mechanisms did the agency use to implement the designs?
    And why did it limit itself to using those mechanisms?

    Desgners are different from creators. Creators have no need of designs or mechanisms, and are not presented with things that they will change.

    (*) I’m using this awkward expression to avoid committing to omni–potent, -scient, etc., or supernatural, etc., which may be difficult to define.

  8. Ceteris Paribus

    Tom S asks:

    Why, in the first place, was there stuff that was not as the agency wanted it?
    And then, what mechanisms did the agency use to implement the designs?
    And why did it limit itself to using those mechanisms?

    We may never know the answers to these perplexing conundrums, but inquiring minds will likely want to resort to their handy bibles, the repository of all Wisdom. Start at oh, maybe, that tale about Noah.

  9. It’s bad enough when the Discoveroids ghoulishly claim the corpse of some deceased scientific luminary as a proponent of their brand of Oogity-Boogity.

    But now, claiming still-living genuine scientists, against their will, as their own is a downright zombic thirst for brains.

    Be afraid. Be very afraid…

  10. So have they notified these three Nobel laureates that their discovery and work was based on ID? I’m sure they’d be pleased to hear this association and might even sign the DIshonesty Institute’s anti-Darwin statement.

  11. michaelfugate

    Teleology all the way down – when they report the perfect ideal DNA sequence let me know.

  12. I used the theory of intelligent when I was driving this morning. I perceived that the traffic lights were intelligently designed to facilitate the flow of traffic. So I stopped when the light was red, and thus avoided potentially dangerous collisions. Thanks, Discoveroids!

  13. michaelfugate

    I think you are correct SC that it is about good v. evil for the DI, but they are no closer to a method for determining one from the other than they are in determine ID from religion or design from non-design.

  14. @Steve Ruis: Indeed. When I read this blurb I wondered why the IDers are so fond of a designer who is so inept that his/her/its designs need constant monitoring and repair. A freshman engineer at (pick your school, and it doesn’t even have to be MIT or Cal Tech) could do better.

  15. Design is a response to a problem which takes account of the possibilities.

    God is not faced with any problems, because he created everthing. If there were a problem it would be of his own making.

    Besides that, his response would not need to take account of the possibilities, because everything is possible.

    Design is contrary to the concept of God.

  16. michaelfugate

    It is a bit like the difference between an artist and an engineer – perhaps not a perfect analogy, but none is.

  17. Saith the Discovery Institute:

    This month’s announcement of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry should cause design advocates to celebrate. We have just seen the biggest prize for science go to three biologists who made a design inference about genetic information. Tomas Lindahl, Paul Modrich, and Aziz Sancar shared the prestigious honor for their work on DNA repair mechanisms.

    Of course, intelligent design was never mentioned in the Nobel Committee’s announcement, either the popular version or the scientific version. We know also that the committee assumes that the repair mechanisms came about by a Darwinian process. In all likelihood, the winners are evolutionists, too. But think about it; their work was about information quality control.

    Aaaaaarrrrgh! It’s beyond me how such people can keep an audience (not counting, of course, their debunkers) by talking about information as though they actually had some. I guess P. T. Barnum was right: there really is a sucker born every minute.

  18. @michaelfugate-
    Yes.
    But I tend to think of this in terms of the change of culture in the Industrial Revolution.
    A gentleman, in the old days, would obtain his watch from an artisan. Being a gentleman, he would not have any idea of the mechanics of producing the watch. The artisan, he would have to design the watch, buy the materials, work with the tools of his trade, and, individually, produce the watch for the gentleman. The gentleman would look at the wonderful device that has been presented to him. All the gentleman knows is that this is a wonderfully designed watch. He doesn’t know the half of it.
    Then comes the Industrial Revolution. Watches are mass produced. The design department is separated from the purchasing, marketing and production departments.
    Like all analogies, it is imperfect. But as long as the ID people insist on dealing in analogies, and refuse to tell us what they mean, that is all that we have to go on.

  19. It’s easy to forget that the D.I. is a propaganda producer for hire. While some people find it cowardly of them to not allow comments on their website, a vendor of propaganda would have no reason to welcome or engage in any form of dialogue with it’s audience. There is no need for discussion, the goal is to remain employed in the opinion shaping business.